Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dress Alterations and "All Those Republicans..."

I did not sleep well at all last night. It was cool outside but warm in the house, and the window unit in our room doesn't think it should cool our room in that situation.  I was hot and achy and tossed around all night long. I'm telling you this, because what follows might just be a result of my sleep deprived crankiness today. I don't know. I'm asking for forgiveness ahead of time for any rash words.

(Also, I'll be outing myself politically, though I'm sure it will be no surprise to most. I've revealed my leanings on my blog before, but try and stay away from talking about them in church and on Facebook, etc.  I truly want people to hear about Christ first and foremost, and I know that politics, especially conservative politics, is often something that keeps folks from truly understanding Him. Robert, too. We agree on politics, but we also agree that they should not be tied to sharing the Gospel in any way.)

Today was Kayla's first day of Classical Conversations.  She's a junior this year and in the Challenge III level with one of my sweetest friends as her tutor - Aimee or Mrs. Gould. (I am not tutoring this year, and though I love CC, it's so nice to have a break.) I knew I would be dropping Kayla off this morning at 8:15am, so a week ago I made an appointment to have the bridesmaid dress for my sister's wedding altered just after getting Kayla settled in for her first day of class. My appointment was at 9am, so I read my Bible at Starbucks for a few minutes over hot tea before heading over to the appointment.
Ours is the strapless one on the left. With pockets!

I was greeted by a lovely petite woman with white hair in her late fifties, I'm guessing. Really, she was just so pleasant. I could even tell from her website that she was a gentle and kind person. It's part of why I chose her shop. We took a look at the dress, and then she left me alone to change.

When she came back in, she began pinning and chatting some more. A few years ahead of me in having a crown of white hair, she asked me if I was highlighting mine.  When I said no, she went on and on about my hair - it's color (or non-color), it's cut, it's length.  It was so sweet, and I love it when people are so free with their genuine and complimentary thoughts. (Though hard to receive!) It's something I'm trying to get better at myself.

Then the conversation turned to the wedding.  She mentioned hardly ever seeing wedding party dresses with floral prints, but when I explained the outdoor Texas venue, she thought it would be a perfect match. And after telling me about her niece who recently moved to Dallas, she said something about Amherst being so liberal.  At first I couldn't tell if she thought that was good or bad, but then it became all too clear...

Me: Well, yes, Amherst is very liberal, but I think what pushes it to the far left of left are the colleges and the university.

Seamstress: Yes, because young people finally leave home and get educated.

(I could have been mistaken, but she seemed to be glad that the education led to the liberalness.)

Seamstress: I don't know if I could live in Texas with all those Republicans. So many Republicans there. It's so diverse here.

Me: You know, I am originally from Texas, and I find Amherst to be much less diverse than where I'm from - ethnically, ideologically, and politically, but I also lived in the cities of San Antonio and Austin for many years, so maybe that's why.

Seamstress: Oh, you're from Texas? Well, I mean we have so many nationalities here because of the colleges. I guess if you lived in a city in Texas, you had some diversity. Dallas seems to be all white Republicans though, or at least the area my niece lives in.

Me: Well, my husband and I both grew up in very small towns in Texas.  He was one of the few white kids on his football team.  Many of my closest friends were Mexican, my head cheerleader, Rhonda, was black, as was the cheerleader, Bernie, from whom I inherited all of my cheerleading uniforms.  My computer science partner, Takeru, was Asian. So was our valedictorian.

(Or something like the above comments, but I've tightened them up here for effect.)

Seamstress: Really? Well, I guess it just depends.  There must be a few pockets of diversity there.

Me: Yes, and there are Democrats, too, but I don't find quite the same diversity of ideals and politics in this area. Everyone here seems to vote the same way.

And then we got to talking about our kids, and being in-laws, and grandparents.  When she heard my oldest was 21, she said not to worry, that kids these days get married really late - even after they've bought a house together and settled in, which is nice, because then they often pay for the wedding themselves.

As lovely as this woman was, I couldn't help but think that this type of presumption and narrow-mindedness is part of what has gotten us into our current polarized political and cultural situation. (By the way, I will be heartbroken if my kids buy houses with their girlfriends or boyfriends and then get married years later. I wonder if she knows how high the divorce rate is for those folks.) And I can't tell you how many times I've been in a similar situation since moving here. Don't get me wrong. I know it happens in Texas, too - or wherever there is a majority of one ideology or ethnicity. But no one is exempt! Liberal New Englanders don't get to look down their noses at Conservative Texans and create a narrative about their obvious ignorance and lack of relationships with people of other colors. (We moved here during the 2000 Bush election, so being from the same state as the president automatically meant I must be an idiot. A downtown restaurant changed it's menu to mock the administration at that time. Diverse? Tolerant? No, not at all.)

So, yes, I am a registered Republican from Texas. I think the government is too big and controlling. I think taxes and spending are out of control. I don't want babies aborted or laws that encourage it. I desire traditional marriage to be upheld, because I believe it's by original design and what's best for kids, and the culture. I want freedom of speech and religion. I think people are better off when they are given a hand up rather than a hand out. For all you political scientists and junkies, I'm sure it all sounds rather simplistic.  (And I'm sure it is maddening to some, too.)

However, I have not voted for the Republican nominee (or the Democratic one) in the last two elections, nor do I plan to vote for the current nominee. (Or his democratic opponent, to be clear.) I have indeed voted in every previous election, but in my opinion, the Republican candidates have not been true conservatives, and I've felt pretty discouraged and disillusioned by it all. Voting has been no fun at all. (And my vote doesn't count for much in this state anyway.)

I've never prayed for this country like I have in the past several months.  Prayers of confession mostly - in the same vein as Daniel on behalf of the rebellious nation of Israel. We are truly a mess. It grieves me and causes me to hope for heaven more than ever before - which is our only real hope anyway. So many Christians forget that - including me.

I have been watching and reading up on the election and candidates as much as I can, depressing as it is.

(I honestly thought the Democratic National Convention was very well done - as if that counts for anything. Michelle was the wise woman, wife, and mother she usually is, and Bill was as eloquent as ever. He left a few glaring issues out of his speech, but Slick Willy has never been so convincing.)

I have to thank my friend Josh Torrey for keeping me abreast of great articles on the topic via Facebook. (Thanks, Josh!) Here are a few I've read that cause me to think that it's okay to keep voting in a non-traditional way. If we say we want change, then I think this is what it's going to take. (And yes, I know you can find articles that say the exact opposite.  I've read many of those, too.)

How Not To Waste Your Vote: A Mathematical Analysis

Conservatives Don't Owe Trump Their Ballot

Four Issues To Consider Before You Support Trump - What Is Really At Stake

Al Mohler and Russell Moore Explain Why They Can't Support Trump

Though I don't know if I've ever been overly presumptuous (mostly because I've never been overly comfortable with religious and political conversations, so be gentle if you choose to comment), my 17 years in New England have helped teach me that presumptions (which are really judgments, and discriminations in disguise) are not helpful. In fact, they are hurtful. Even my sweet seamstress has fallen prey to the narrow-mindedness she accuses the other side of having, but I really don't think she'll take it out on my dress. She did like my grey hair after all.


Anonymous said...

So who might you be voting for?

Nikki said...

I was a student at Umass Amherst for four years. As you probably know, diversity of thought and ideals does not truly mean diversity of thought and ideals unless its liberal minded. Professors and students alike tried to brainwash me with slogans, radical agendas, etc and I would not budge. I am also a registered Republican, voted for Ben Carson in the primary and am a lesbian. Although I don't feel that last bit really defines much at all, I thought I would include to just show that they're some folks out there who are outside of the typical mold of "LGBT folks are democrat" or "LGBT folks are liberal".

We share many of the same political ideals...except the one about marriage surprise surprise. You have your views and I have mine. Unlike most LGBT/liberal folks, I don't want you to change your opinion. It's still a free country, well somewhat, government is sticking its nose in too many things.

Would love to take some Texan Southern sprinkles and sprinkle it here in Massachusetts. I voted for Ben Carson because of his stance on abortion and feel that my sexuality also informs why I am so vigorously pro-life in the first place. So many children are getting senselessly aborted when they could be adopted into a loving home. God willing, I can provide a child with a place to call home filled with love, care and good values.

I don't think I could stay in Amherst for 17 years. I was thrilled to leave once I graduated. Good luck!

Melanie said...

Hi Nikki ~ Thank you so much for commenting here. I wish we could have met while you were here in Amherst - the Texas sprinkles need to stick together sometimes! ;-) It was so interesting to read about your political views and the reasons behind them. I wish there was more friendly dialogue among those in the party and with those outside of the party, and so I really appreciate your kind words and thoughts.

And I plan to write in a name when I vote. It's what I've done in the last two elections as well. Not exactly sure whose name I will write in yet, but most likely one of the former candidates. (Since Ron Paul isn't really an option anymore. ;-) )

Nikki said...

Thank you. My last year of college (2015), I was apart of the UMass Republican Club on campus. It was quite an honor to meet Charles Krauthammer face to face and will cherish the picture I got with him as well as a signed copy of Things That Matter.

Thinking about friendly dialogue...this past April, the UMass Republican Club hosted a Q&A panel with Milo Yiannopoulos, Steven Crowler, and Christina Hoff Summers entitled "The Triggering: Has Political Correctness Gone To Far." I was able to see it unfold on YouTube and it was really good! We welcomed the opinions and views of the other side...as long as it was done so respectfully. Unfortunately, it was my impression that the left's solution to opposing opinions is to shout obscenities in an attempt to hamper free speech because they did not agree with it. Such a shame.

We're never obligated to simply check the box of the person who is the nominee. I'm much happier knowing that my vote goes to someone that I believe in.

Melanie said...

I wish I would have known about that event. I went to hear Phyllis Schlafly at UMass many years ago and blogged about it here. There was a lot of opposition, and yes, it seemed like the more liberal side wanted to mock and silence. Thank you again for your comments - and encouragement.